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Energy Bill Proponents Launch Social Media Campaign

a photo of people signing petition
People signing HB6 referendum petition in Columbus.

There is yet another group jumping into the fray over Ohio's nuclear bailout law. Protect Ohio Clean Energy Jobs is fighting to save the $1 billion in subsidies meant for FirstEnergy Solutions. The group is taking an uncommon approach.

Protect Ohio Clean Energy Jobs said voters are being deceived by anti-nuclear bailout petitioners, so they're using targeted ads on social media urging people who have already signed the HB6 referendum to take their names off the petition. The group's treasurer lobbies for FirstEnergy Solutions, which runs the nuclear plants.

Catherine Turcer with the voter rights group Common Cause Ohio, said this is the latest group to interfere with a citizen's right to referendum.

"Making it just even harder for voters to have the opportunity to vote on this energy bill."

"There are so many hoops to do a referendum, it's just creating yet another hoop."

Other tactics in support of the nuclear bailout bill include millions of dollars in ads and mailers using anti-Chinese government rhetoric, paying people to follow petitioners around, and the circulation of a different, informal petition.

The referendum group said voters are not confused. They know they're against a bailout.

Andy Chow is a general assignment state government reporter who focuses on environmental, energy, agriculture, and education-related issues. He started his journalism career as an associate producer with ABC 6/FOX 28 in Columbus before becoming a producer with WBNS 10TV.